Brian’s Courtside Blog - May 22, vs. Sacramento

Hey Sky fans, Brian here. If you missed my blogs from the preseason, I will be coming to you from the scorer’s table at every Sky home game, giving you my front-row take on the action and everything else interesting that I see going on in the arena.

It’s finally opening night, and if the Sky can match the intensity of the fans in the building tonight, this year is going to be one to remember! For all those who came out and showed their support tonight, great job!

The pre-game festivities were something special tonight as the Soul Children of Chicago really got the crowd going with the most amazing (and possibly loudest) rendition of the National Anthem I have ever heard. I think everyone in the arena had goose bumps when they walked off the court, as they left to a standing ovation…even the players on the court applauded them! The anthem was followed by a tribute at center court to Armintie Price for winning the 2007 WNBA Rookie of the Year. She held her trophy up for the fans, and then they unveiled a banner with her name. Looking forward to lots more banners in here...

Opening Night is always a big deal, but the UIC Pavilion really had the feel of a playoff game tonight, something I think could be in the cards for the Sky this season. In fact, our Opening Night was such a big deal that NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Quentin Richardson were courtside. Recently retired Sky guard Stacey Dales was also here, cheering on her old team and wearing a big smile on her face the entire evening.

Rookie center “Big Syl” Fowles dominated early on in the second quarter. On consecutive defensive possessions, Fowles had a block, followed up by a lay-up, then another steal that led to a Price breakaway lay-in. As Sacramento called timeout, Sky Head Coach Steven Key pumped his fist in the air with tons of excitement, so much that he spun in a circle as he moved towards Fowles to tell her job well done.

Sitting at the scorer’s table, I am privileged to see and hear many things that most fans do not get to hear. At the end of the first half, I witnessed one of these moments as Monarchs Head Coach Jenny Boucek was visibly upset with the referees. As her team headed off the floor, Boucek remained behind to plead her case as she re-enacted one of the physical plays of the half. It’s funny when the refs act like they’re really listening to what coaches have to say, then turn their backs and just grin.

Candice Dupree made her first appearance in front of the home crowd tonight, having missed the pre-season games. “She’s like a silent assassin,” said my partner at the scorer’s table, Demetris Sapp. Every time I watch her play, it seems that I forget she is on the floor, but at the end of the night she usually leads the team in points and rebounds.

All and all, I was extremely impressed with the team’s home debut. The Sky showed up to play from the opening tip and gave all of the fans here what they came to see…exciting, fast-paced play, and a WIN.

Check back for my next blog Thursday, May 29, as the Sky hosts the Minnesota Lynx and the number 3 draft pick, Candice Wiggins, right back here at the UIC Pavilion. Five of the Sky’s next six games are at home, and I see no reason why the team can’t get hot early and open up a nice lead in the standings!